In-Law Funeral Etiquette

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2007
In-Law Funeral Etiquette
Sun, 08-26-2007 - 4:32pm

My father in law passed away last week. My mother made it clear when he took ill that she would only attend ONE thing- the wake or the funeral. Yeh, yeh, yeh I said. They live about 2 hours from us.

When my dear FIL did die and I called my parents, they again said they woud come to only one thing and sent a small basket of flowers to the our home.

My parents chose to attend the wake- they did so for one hour- throughout which my mother caught my eye and tapped her wrist that they had to leave. She claims she couldn't get anyone to cover her overnight shift. They promised to bring a dessert and didn't- my dad claimed he didn't "hear" me on the phone say that I needed it.

This is the first in-law wake and funeral. MIL is long deceased. What is proper etiquette for in-laws?

I thought my parent should have stayed for the wake and funeral and offered to help me with the after wake family dinner at home. We offered them a hotel room- although $ isn't an issue for them. I thought my dad could have driven back to the funeral alone if my mom wasn't able to attend.

My mom hung up on me last night when I said I was disappointed with them. She said she "did everything perfect."

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2003
Sun, 08-26-2007 - 8:00pm

I am sorry to hear about the death in your family and offer my condolences for your loss.

Your mother was under no obligation to do anything that she did not feel in her heart that she wanted to do in this situation. If she and your dad had been really good friends of your husband's parents, I am sure your mother would have felt differently. You really should be grateful that she did come to show her sympathy and support for you and your husband at the loss of his dad and in her generous gesture of attendance and floral gift.

Avatar for cl_mugalug
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 08-26-2007 - 8:14pm
I am sorry for your loss. I do have to ask, why did your parents need to attend? Were they close with your ILs? If not then being there for an hour was fine in my opinion. Honestly you are making a big deal out of nothing. If you were worried about looking bad because they left, you didn't they did. They aren't obligated to attend as they were only family through you. I don't think my Grandparents attended my Grandpa's funeral. Honestly, I would just let this go. They had their reasons for wanting to leave, so just leave it at that. Also, I don't see why they were obligated to bring something to eat. I have been to a few funerals, and it was the family (i.e sister(s), brother(s) etc.)who took care of the food or once we went to a restaurant.

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Edited 8/26/2007 8:16 pm ET by cl-mugalug

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2004
Sun, 08-26-2007 - 9:53pm

I'm sorry for your loss.

I would expect that many people would attend out of respect and support for their son-in-law who lost his father. I guess your mother wasn't really obligated to do anything, though I understand why you are hurt and upset. I know I would be if my mother wasn't more supportive if my FIL passed away.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2012
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 6:15pm

Families are different, if your parents were not real close to you in laws than either the wake or the funeral would be fine to attend just one. Although, it would ge helpful for your mom and dad to stay and help out for the after wake an after funeral gatherings it is not their job. You are actually the in law to this family and it is your job to support your husband and play hostess and see to his family. That is your responsibility. Even though it hurts I had to do the same when my father IL past away. And if your husband has brothers or sisters, than their spouses are the ones that you should be calling on for assistance not your parents. As helpful as it would be for your mom and dad to come and do, it is really not their place it is yours. That is the truth of the matter. I am sorry for you loss and pray strength to you and your family.